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Korea is world leader in human development: Interview with UNDP Director Updated: 2017-05-19 20:03:18 KST

South Korea is a world leader in human development. That's according to the Director of the UN Development Programme, Selim Jahan.
During his visit to Seoul this week for the launch of the new Human Development Report, Jahan highlighted Korea's progress over the years in boosting quality of life -- enabling growth for individuals economically, socially and politically.

"Korea has shown that development is a marathon- not a sprint. And development is not a snapshot-- it's a continuum."

The human development index measures progress in three dimensions: longevity and well-being, access to knowledge and standard of living.
Korea ranks in the top category-- at 18th place among 188 countries.

"During the last 25 years, Korea's human development index has increased by 23 percent. Life expectancy has gone from 71 to 82-- 11 years of gain over 25 years."

The director attributes the progress to the its "multidimensional" approach to development.
From the ashes of the Korean War, the nation initiated large-scale agricultural policies in the 1950s, followed by heavy industralization in the 60s and 70s.
The decades to follow saw the country take big leaps in democratization and advancements in IT.
In 2009, Korea transitioned from being an aid recipient to a donor country.

"On the economic side, it has done well but at the same time, it did not forget its people. There have been huge investment in people in terms of education, and health services."

The UNDP's Seoul Policy Centre, among various other UN-affiliated agencies in Korea, is sharing the country's best practices across diverse areas of development -- governance, public services, gender equality and the environment.

"I think Korea's experience will be transmitted, disseminated in more and more countries. Whether it's the assessment of anticorruption, or the safe construction system which have been replicated in many countries including Jordan and Thailand."

Progress in human development is a crucial part of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to end poverty, empower and improve all lives across the world.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.
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